Hardware Retailing

OCT 2018

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2018 60 D o you know what your big-box competitors are up to? What are they good at? What don't they do well? Regularly visiting other retail outlets should be part of your competitive strategy as you evaluate your prices, product mix, displays and promotions. Don't just notice what competitors do poorly. Learn from their successes. Borrow ideas, such as moving a display or finding a unique way to present products. You might be surprised to hear customers say, "I didn't know you sold this!" just because you've redone your merchandising. There's much you can gain by keeping a close eye on your competition. Reasons to Scope Out Your Competitors 3. You can find fresh inspiration for merchandising. Your staff may be great at merchandising, but no one is ever too good to keep learning. Visiting your big-box competitors monthly will help you see where they excel and what they do to improve over time. Don't be afraid to mimic what works well for someone else. 1. You may spot really great prospective employees. Walk through competing stores and pay attention to which employees greet you, offer to help or are sought out for their expertise. If their service wows you, slip them your business card. Let them know you think they would be great on your team. You're paying them a compliment and recruiting. 4. You might get new ideas for in-store marketing and signage. Pay attention to the directional signage, "hot buy" tags, shelf talkers, posters and checkout counter decals at a variety of businesses. Big boxes, artisan coffee shops and boutique clothing stores may use creative placement, eye-catching designs or clever phrasing that you could try at your business. 2. You'll notice if they're imitating you. Big-box stores don't get all of their store-level inspiration from corporate. You may discover your competitors are sending employees to your store to get ideas. Pay attention, and you'll find new ways to one-up them. You'll also know to tell your staff when they're so good they're being copied.

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